Wednesday, June 3, 2009

20 Years of Dischord

(the title refers to a compilation from a favorite D.C.-based record label)

I posted something heavy on the ol' facespace status bar today and I s'pose I should try to clarify a little more what I am saying. Here's what my status read today:

I suspect that all this talk about Tiananmen has little to do with China and really points out that in the new era "revolution" is less about changing material circumstances and more about affirming domination; particularly in the U.S. - where the myths of revolutions and wars of liberation are Disney rides. 成者天之道地。成者, 人之道地。"Creativity is the way of all reality, creating is the proper way of being human."

from 中庸20 (the zhongyong, verse 20; Ames and Hall translation); what I mean is that if we want to change things in this world (like political oppression) then it is incumbent upon us to be that change. At the root of this change is a fundamental receptivity to being changed by what we learn of the world, rather than approaching the world with a strategy for engaging it. Rather than holding the world to an abstract ideal and then changing the world to fit this idea.

I bring this up because I suspect for many Americans (if they think anything about Tiananmen at all) they will look at this incident as simply proof of the blatant disregard for human rights in China, nevermind that most Americans don't really understand what "human rights" means. And it is this lack of understanding that creates the wiggle-room necessary for folks to then begin entertaining notions about liberating the people of China so that they might be free. Probably there are too many economic necessities at work right now for that to happen, but who's to say that this won't happen in the future, especially if the fires of racism and hatred are allowed to simply burn in the open like this.

Henry Rosemont, Jr. and Roger Ames have both dedicated their careers to elucidating the meanings of Confucius as well as promoting a harmonious flourishing between the U.S. and China. I refer you to them:

Rosemont on the "threat" of China
Rosemont's "U.S.-dominated Human Rights Discourse as an Impediment to Reconciliation"
Ames on the benefits of the U.S. and China engaging in this discussion

And there are a number of scholarly works that you can google, hopefully some you'll be able to read for free.

1 comment:

  1. I love the creation quote. Love it. Now I'm feeling all inspired, thanks.